submitted by Lisa Price
I wish to comment on a clause in the Improving
schools and safeguarding children Bill, namely "improving monitoring
arrangements for children educated at home". I am concerned that this
clause has been hastily introduced without due deliberation and consideration
following the rushed Review of Home Education by Graham Badman
earlier in the year, and that it does not seem to be a reasonable response to
the perceived levels of risk.
It has recently been noted by the Department that
the evidence for change put forward by Graham Badman
was obtained from only a small sample of local authorities and is not
statistically rigorous. As you will know the Select Committee is currently
investigating the conduct of the Review and there is also a public consultation
on the specific elements of the Badman Report which
will require changes to primary legislation.
The call for evidence to the Select Committee
Inquiry was announced on July 22nd. Work in this area has been restricted
during the Summer while parliament is in recess and many local authority staff
have been on annual leave.
We do not know when the Select Committee will
announce its findings but we would not expect anything to be available before
the Queen's Speech. Furthermore, the public consultation does not close
until October 19th hence there is insufficient time to consider the input from
stakeholders before rushing to primary legislation.
Throughout his Report, the author Graham Badman indicated many areas which were outside the scope of
the inquiry or which would merit further research.
The Schools and Safeguarding Bill is already
extremely wide in scope with an ambitious range of proposals which would if
enacted profoundly change the relationship between schools and parents.
Therefore it does not make sense to include an additional contentious clause
related to home education while the Badman Review is
still being investigated by the Department.